Caleb is a native Kansan with a long-standing interest in developmental neurobiology. He was educated at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he studied the formation of brain asymmetry in zebrafish and activity-dependent neural circuit formation in fruit flies. His current research interests include the subcellular regulation of RNA in developing oligodendrocyte lineage cells and the activity-dependent mechanisms underlying myelin sheath growth. Outside of the laboratory, Caleb enjoys literary fiction and an eclectic catalogue of strange music. He lives in Denver with his wife, Mary Parr, their Australian Shepherd, Banjo, and their boisterous son, Evers.
The formation of the central nervous system requires coordinated contributions from many different cell types during defined critical periods of development. Oligodendrocytes are specialized glial cells that help facilitate synaptic plasticity through the activity-dependent myelination of select axons. As a single oligodendrocyte can produce dozens of myelin sheaths on distinct axons of differing caliber and physiology, the growth of individual sheaths represents a remarkable feat of development at the tips of distal cellular processes. We propose that RNA binding proteins regulate the localization and translation of mRNAs crucial for myelin sheath growth. This mechanism enables rapid activity-dependent myelination at a great distance from the nucleus, thereby resolving the tight temporal requirements of neural plasticity with the spatial challenges of highly polarized oligodendrocytes.